How Magic Johnson Missed Out on Billions With Nike

Magic Johnson came into the NBA in 1979 real hot after beating Larry Bird in the national championship, so he got plenty of sneaker deals thrown at him – including one from Nike.

Along with Nike, Adidas and Converse offered Magic a sponsorship deal.

The Lakers legend decided to sign with Converse, which financially speaking was definitely not the best option but he didn’t have a crystal ball at the time.

“Nike was just a year or two old,” Johnson said on a January episode of All The Smoke. “And so, Converse offered me the most money. So, you know, when you grow up broke, you take the money. [Nike co-founder] Phil Knight came in and said, ‘Hey, I can’t offer you the same type of money, but I can offer you stock.’

“I didn’t know nothing about it. My family didn’t come from money. See, that’s one thing that hurt us sometimes. When you don’t come from money, I didn’t even know what stocks was at that time. So I passed on the stocks. Can you imagine? Forty-five years. Five billion dollars that stock would’ve been worth today.”


It’s hard to feel too sorry for Magic, since he is still estimated to be worth around $620 million right now – a lot of that thanks to Magic Johnson Enterprises.

The now-63-year-old owns restaurants and entertainment venues but even so, the Nike stuff still haunts him.

Back in 2017 on The Ellen Show, he said, “Boy, did I make a mistake… I’m still kicking myself. Every time I’m in a Nike Store, I get mad. I could have been making money off of everybody buying Nikes right now.”

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As most NBA fans know, Nike and Michael Jordan made a deal in 1984 that included his own line of shoes called Air Jordan.

It was a $2.5 million deal for five years, plus and an additional 5 percent royalties on the profit from the sale of his signature line.

Since then, it is estimated that Jordan has made over $1.4 billion from his Nike deal and he made $256 million from Nike in 2022 alone. Wild.

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